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  • Ben has sights set on critical care nursing career

    Author: Karen Keast

Ben Lewinsohn was in his third year of studying electrical engineering when he realised he wanted more personal interaction in his career.

Now at the age of 22, Ben is studying to become a nurse and hopes to one day become a nurse leader in critical care and emergency nursing.

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“A lot of people are shocked when I tell them that I study nursing,” he said.

“However, the stereotype of a female nurse is disappearing as more men realise the benefits of the job.

“I study nursing because I want to help and take care of people.”

Originally from Sydney, Ben said critical care and emergency nursing interested him as it’s a fast-paced and often unpredictable working environment.

“You can see the change quite rapidly (in patients) at some points, whether that’s good to bad or bad to good,” he said.

“Although I am still quite new at my nursing career and profession, it is an area that gives you a lot of experience, it teaches you about a lot of different areas of the body of the person, of them holistically, (and) it opens the doors to work rurally or in other sectors of the community.”

Ben was one of four men awarded Diploma of Enrolled Nursing scholarships at Northern Sydney Institute, out of 10 scholarships, and is now studying his two-year Bachelor of Nursing.

Glenys Wensor, a registered nurse and head teacher of nursing at Northern Sydney Institute, said increasing numbers of men are realising the benefits of a career in nursing.

Ms Wensor, a nurse educator of more than 30 years, said nursing offers stability of employment and a wide range of employment options.

“There are places other than general medical wards - there’s ICU, there’s emergency, there’s theatres and all of our students obviously go through all of those areas,” she said.

“There is the opportunity of working in a team, to have quite a lot of responsibility, and also I think they have the ability to influence the outcomes of care, which I think is pretty important and that sort of increases job satisfaction with feedback from patients.

“Obviously there’s the flexibility of a nursing qualification, it’s a very portable qualification, there’s national recognition - people can work overseas and they can work in all different areas.”

Registration data from the Australian Health Practitioner and Regulation Agency (AHPRA) shows more than 10 per cent of men, or 36,881 males, make up Australia’s 351,507-strong nursing and midwifery workforce.

Of those in the nursing profession, 5631 are enrolled nurses, 30,105 are registered nurses, and 600 are enrolled nurses and registered nurses.

In the nursing and midwifery profession, one male is registered as an enrolled nurse and 533 are registered nurses, while in midwifery, 11 are registered as midwives.

New South Wales is home to the greatest number of male nurses, with 11,386, followed by Victoria with 9077, Queensland with 6796, South Australia with 3303, Western Australia with 3108, while Tasmania has 920 male nurses, the ACT has 592, the Northern Territory has 581, and 1118 are listed as having no principal place of practice.

Ms Wensor said nursing is an ideal career choice for both men and women.

“It is not a job for the faint-hearted,” she said.

“Men can bring unique skills and perspectives to the job. They don’t always realise the responsibility and importance of a nurse’s role in a hospital or care facility.”

Ms Wensor said male nurses are beneficial to the workplace environment and, most importantly, are an asset to their patients.

“Some male patients probably do feel more comfortable discussing various things like reproductive health and those sorts of things with males,” she said.

“I think that’s an important aspect of looking after our patients holistically.”


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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords